In October 2008 the Federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts took a step sideways with regard to Australia's official opposition to the continuation of commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean which is thinly disguised as 'scientific' research by the Government of Japan.
Peter Garrett did this by appointing Sandy Holloway as a Special Envoy for Whale Conservation.
Mr. Holloway was CEO of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and although the Sydney Games were highly successful, the fact remains that he operated within an International Olympic Committee philosophy which was historically less than transparent, less than corruption free and nakedly cynical.
With recent media reports indicating that Australia (courtesy of Holloway) may have given an indication that it would agree to Japan continuing whaling in the Southern Ocean and even expanding its operation in the Pacific, matters have taken a turn for the worst for Minister Garrett as over 21 years of diplomacy and active international lobbying appear to be morphing into open appeasement.
In The Australian earlier today:
EVIDENCE of a Federal Government offer to Japan over whaling has emerged as Canberra insists it is totally opposed to the hunt. Australia was ready to "seriously consider" Japan's priorities, and a "reduced" total take of Southern Ocean whales, according to a US State Department memo written late last year.
And as recently as last weekend, Australia was among a select group of nations that met confidentially to refine a compromise package for International Whaling Commission (IWC) approval.
The Government came under attack yesterday after it was disclosed that it was involved in developing the package for the commission chairman, William Hogarth, who is working to bridge the deep divide between pro and anti-whaling nations.
Australia was part of a small group that last December put together the Hogarth package. This proposed letting Japan expand North Pacific kills through coastal and high seas whaling while also limiting, or phasing out, its Antarctic hunt.....
"(Mr) Hollway has travelled to Tokyo and Washington in recent weeks, explaining that Australia is ready to seriously consider Japan's priorities in the IWC (if not actually support them) and simultaneously secure reductions in the larger Antarctic whale quotas that Japan grants itself," said the memo.Japan's aim to re-establish commercial whaling is well-known.
The Holloway trade-off is a farce and allows Japan to keep all its whale hunting options open, and further, apparently allows it to proceed with its annual kill with little or no increase in formal oversight or monitoring in the hunting grounds it has chosen.
A supposedly green approach to the Sydney Olympics may have given Peter Garrett a faith in Sandy Holloway which is sadly misplaced, because Holloway obviously sees whale conservation and protection more as a matter of commerce and trading partner compromise.
Peter Garret's weakness and Kevin Rudd's reluctance to take a very strong stand will see Japan continue to exploit the situation to its own advantage despite widespread community and international opposition to commercial whaling.